|Sweet Flag Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Acorus calamus|
|Origin||India, central Asia, southern Russia and Siberia, and perhaps Eastern Europe|
|Shapes||Berry filled with mucus, which when ripe falls into the water|
|Taste||Astringent, bitterish, pungent taste|
|Health benefits||Stomach disorders, Stimulate the Blood Circulation, Combats Tobacco Addiction, Mouth disorders, Treat Insomnia, Helps in increasing appetite, Cough & Fever, Skin disorders, Asthma, Impotency, Prevent Infections, Enhance the quality of Memory, Increase the Appetite, Respiratory Reliefs, Intestinal worms, Arthritis, For epilepsy|
The generic name is the Latin word acorus, which is derived from the Greek άχόρου (áchórou) of Dioscorides. The word άχόρου itself is supposed to have been derived from the word κόρη (kóri), which means pupil (of an eye), because of the juice from the root of the plant being used as a remedy in diseases of the eye (‘darkening of the pupil’). The specific name calamus is derived from Greek κάλαμος (kálamos, meaning “reed”), which is similar to Latin culmus and Old English healm (meaning “straw”), and derived from Proto-Indo European kole-mo- (thought to mean “grass” or “reed”). The Arabic word قَلَم (qálam, meaning “pen”) and Sanskrit कलम (kaláma, meaning “reed used as a pen”, and a sort of rice) are thought to have been borrowed from Greek.
Sweet flag is a semi-evergreen, deciduous, spreading, marginal aquatic perennial hairless herb that grows approximately 30–100 cm (12–39 in) tall. The plant is found growing in moist soils and shallow water in ditches, marshes, river edges, ponds, small lakes, swamps, and wetlands. Normally the plant prefers to grow well in clayey and sandy loam soils as well as in alluvial soils. The plant has long creeping roots which spread out just below the surface of the soil. Creeping and extensively branched, aromatic rhizome is cylindrical, up to 2.5 cm thick, purplish-brown to light brown externally and white internally. Scented leaves and rhizomes of sweet flag have been traditionally used as a medicine and the dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavor and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg for its odor. Foliage and rhizomes are sweetly fragrant when bruised, hence the common name.
Leaves are thick, erect and are very similar in appearance to the iris but edges are crimped. Leaves of A. calamus has a single prominent mid vein and then on both sides slightly raised secondary veins and many, fine tertiary veins. This makes it clearly distinct from Acorus americanus. Leaves are between 0.7 and 1.7 cm wide, with average of 1 cm. The sympodial leaf of a calamus is somewhat shorter than the vegetative leaves the leaves are free, alternate, green and wavy.1-3 in seeded having a thin testa which is cylindrical in shape and green in color.
Flower is very rarely grown in this plant if grown than it is 3- 8 cm long, cylindrical in shape, greenish brown in color and covered with the multitude of rounded spikes. The flowers are small, sessile and densely packed and 5-10 cm of spadix. The spadix, at the time of expansion, can reach a length between 4.9 and 8.9 cm. Flowers from early to late summer depending on the latitude, grows wild in marshy places up to 2000 m altitude in the Himalayas, Manipur, Naga Hills and in some parts of south India.
The fruit is a berry filled with mucus, which when ripe falls into the water and thus disperses. The fruits contain few seeds. Flowering and Fruiting occurs in July. Even in Asia, it fruits sparingly, and propagates itself mainly by growth of its rhizome, forming colonies.
Fragrant underground portion (the rhizome) has been used medicinally since biblical times. Popular European books on medicinal plants touted calamus as a “wonder drug.” However, because of an association between asarones and the development of tumors in animals, the use of calamus and its extracts is prohibited in the US. Maximum limits for beta-asarone content in food and beverages have been set by the European Commission. It has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of digestive disorders and childhood colic. Infusions of the rhizome have been suggested for the treatment of fever, and chewing the rhizome has been said to relieve irritated throats and to remove the odor of tobacco. It is central to the Ayurvedic medical system as an aromatic, stimulant, bitter tonic, and expectorant and has been used as an emenagogue. The A. calamus used in Ayurvedic medicine has undergone “sodhana,” a process of detoxification. It has been used by Native Americans to soothe toothache and headache. Calamus has been promoted on the Internet as a hallucinogen.
Health Benefits of Sweet Flag
Sweet flag or acorus calamus is a perennial herb that has wonderful medicinal values. It is used in all medicinal systems of India. It is an important ingredient of most of the Ayurvedic medicines. It is stated in many of the great Greek classic literature on medicine. Hippocrates, who is called Father of medical science, and Greek physicians like Theophrastus and Dioscorides have mentioned about the uses of sweet flag. Here are some of the benefits of using this herb:
1. Stomach disorders
Sweet flag gives instant relief in stomach problems. It clears a swollen and uncomfortable stomach and also relieves headache related with weak digestion. It clears flatulence and colic and increases appetite. Sweet flag root is burnt and ground as a paste in coconut oil and is applied on belly in cases of pain. It has been found useful in treating anorexia, gastritis and gastric ulcers.
2. Stimulate the Blood Circulation
Calamus root helps to stimulate the blood circulation. Hot effect created by the oil at siri of calamus root is able to smooth the blood circulation and nerves. It is useful for you if you have a pain and swelling which is related with rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.
3. Combats Tobacco Addiction
Habit of smoking and chewing tobacco is not easy to break, but with calamus root, getting rid of this unhealthy addiction may not seem that difficult. This is because chewing the calamus root can create a dislike for the taste of tobacco. Thus, those who are addicted to illegal drugs may be able to quit this habit by using this root. Also, chewing or smoking tobacco often leaves you with bad breath. Chewing the root can also help eliminate the odor of tobacco.
4. Mouth disorders
Sweet flag is useful to treat mouth ulcers, bad odors, coating and rawness of tongue causes by inflammation. Small piece of sweet flag can be rubbed on the tongue. Ayurveda considers it as an anesthetic for toothache.
5. Treat Insomnia
Aroma of calamus root which is able to give a calming sensation can be useful to treat insomnia. This sedative effect may help to relax your body and your mind which also connects to your sleep quality.
6. Helps in increasing appetite
Root of the calamus plant also has helps in increasing the appetite of the stomach and also helps in lowering acidity problems of the stomach.
7. Cough & Fever
Along with decoction of licorice root, it has positive impacts upon cough, fever and colic in children. For dry cough, one should chew its root. When a small piece of Sweet Flag is chewed for few minutes, it gives relief to sore-throat. In nut shell, Sweet Flag clears the respiratory channels and removes the obstructions whenever comes in the normal functioning of the respiratory process.
8. Skin disorders
Paste of sweet flag can be applied externally in cases of skin disorders like eczema, ringworm and scabies. In Siddha system, it is used as disinfectant for vaginal infection and fetid discharges, mainly after delivery of child.
It is effective against asthma and chronic bronchitis. It is recommended to take two glasses of calamus tea, which leads to vomiting. The herb is a broncho-dilator and acts as a chest decongestant. This formulation clears the passage by expelling out impurities from the stomach and lungs and with the result, the patients feel comfortable and easy.
To boost your sex life, take the equal proportions of Vacha, Withania Somnifera, Piper longum, Saussurea Lappa and Datura Seeds. Make a fine powder and sieve it. Now take 1 gm. of it and mix with 10 gm. of cow’s ghee and rub gently on the male genital organ daily. Continue for 21 to 41 days.
11. Prevent Infections
Calamus root is also able to prevent the infections, either internally or externally. Due to its toxic substance, the calamus root can be an antibiotic which does not allow any biotic growth.
12. Enhance the quality of Memory
Efficacy of calamus root doesn’t stop till here, according to several sources, calamus root is also able to boost the quality of memory, particularly to those people who experience the brain injury or have lost memory due to aging, trauma or any other reason.
13. Increase the Appetite
Lack of appetite can be cured using the calamus root and maitake mushroom. Calamus root is supposed that it is able to increase the appetite. Besides that, the calamus root also can lower the acidity of your stomach.
14. Respiratory Reliefs
Sometimes, there are certain diseases that can cause a trouble of the respiratory such as bronchitis, sinusitis etc. In order to treat them, you can use the calamus root. Calamus root is effective to relieve the respiratory by inhaling its aroma. It also can treat circulatory and respiratory system.
15. Intestinal worms
Children generally have this problem. Sweet flag is very effective to solve this problem. Pinch of powder can be given in the morning and evening to clear the intestines of children.
Small piece of sweet flag is ground as paste and somewhat heated. Then this warm paste is applied externally on the painful areas. It relieves pain in cases of joint pain, arthritis and even piles.
17. For epilepsy
Traditional uses and benefits of sweet Flag
- Preparations made from the rhizome are used to promote urinary flow, relieve constipation, and cleanse impurities from the body.
- Stewed rhizome is given for fever, coughs, and poisoning.
- Mixture of the rhizome that has been roasted until charred with oil is used as a rub applied topically to ease stomachaches and bloating in children.
- Mixture of the rhizome with cashew oil is used as a rub to relieve swollen joints and sore muscles.
- Mixture of equal amounts of the dried rhizome with Trachyspermum ammi is burned to create smoke for inhaling as a cure for hemorrhoids.
- Rhizome powder is taken with warm milk for sore throat.
- Mixture of the rhizome with hsay-khar-gyi is given to reduce fever.
- To expel worms, a mixture of equal amounts of the rhizome with baked shein-kho is given to children.
- Mixture of the rhizome powder with dried ginger powder and honey is taken for partial paralysis of the mouth, chin, and cheek.
- Mixture of the rhizome powder with honey is licked as a cure for epilepsy and to treat loss of sanity.
- It is widely used in modern herbal medicine as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic.
- It is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system and as a remedy for digestive disorders in Ayurveda.
- Root is anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, mildly tonic and vermifuge.
- It is used internally in the treatment of digestive complaints, bronchitis, sinusitis etc.
- It is said to have wonderfully tonic powers of stimulating and normalizing the appetite.
- In small doses it decreases stomach acidity whilst larger doses increase stomach secretions and it is, therefore, suggested in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
- Sweet flag is also used externally to treat skin eruptions, rheumatic pains and neuralgia.
- An infusion of the root can bring about an abortion.
- Chewing the root alleviates toothache.
- It is a folk remedy for arthritis, cancer, convulsions, diarrhea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc.
- Chewing the root is said to kill the taste for tobacco.
- Homeopathic remedy is made from the roots.
- It is used in the treatment of flatulence, dyspepsia, anorexia and disorders of the gall bladder.
- Dried root is chewed to clear the voice.
- It is effective for Stomach pain and Diarrhea. Powder of roots of Sweet Flag helps in faster wound healing and killing Stomach worms.
- It activates the speech center of the Brain. It is beneficial in treating speech disorders which might have occurred due to Paralysis.
- It is very effective for mental disorders. It is useful in treating Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Depression and Epilepsy. It enhances memory and the learning processes.
- It is useful in treating throat disorders including Sore Throat, Hoarseness, Strep Throat and symptoms associated with it. It improves the pitch and quality of the voice.
- It works as an expectorant. It liquefies the phlegm and expels it out of your body. It cures whooping Cough especially in Children. It is useful in relieving pain associated with Fever.
- It is used in treating various cancers such as Lung cancer, Breast cancer, and Liver Cancer.
- It works well against Anorexia when taken with warm water.
- Herb lessens flatulence and cures Indigestion.
- Sweet Flag is used in the treatment of Hypothyroidism.
- This herb is very effective in treating swellings.
- It is extensively used in the treatment of Obesity.
- Its use with Yew helps to cure Asthma.
- It provides relief from mouth ulcers.
- It relieves Syphilis.
- It treats Piles.
- Potawatomi people powdered the dried root and placed this up the nose for catarrh.
Ayurvedic Health benefits of Sweet Flag
- Headache: Prepare a paste of the roots. Apply it on the affected area.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Apply paste of the roots on the affected areas.
- Cholera: Crush the roots. Boil one teaspoon of it in one liter water. Filter it. Drink 4 times a day. Alternate drink should be taken after a gap of 15 minutes.
- Cough: Roast Sweet Flag root and make a powder out of it. Take a pinch of this powder and mix it with Honey. Consume it 2 times a day. OR Cut the roots into small pieces. Lick it. (Attention: Helps in increasing salivary functioning.)
- Indigestion: Make a decoction of the root powder. Let it stand. Drink 4 times a day. OR Burn the root till it gets char. Grind to make powder. Take half teaspoon a day with lukewarm water.
- Anorexia: Drink decoction of the root powder 4 times a day. OR Consume half a pinch of the Sweet Flag root powder with 1 cup of warm water. It works well to cure Anorexia.
- Stomach upset: Drink decoction of root powder, 4 times a day.
- Infection: Chew or lick small pieces of root.
- Ulcer: Make fine powder of the roots. Sprinkle them over the affected area.
- Wounds: Dust fine powder of the roots on Wounds. It would heal the wound fast.
- Whooping Cough: Take one tablespoon of Sweet Flag powder with Honey twice a day.
- Stomach Problems: Chew some small pieces of the Sweet Flag root and swallow the juice. It gives prompt relief. In chronic conditions the root can be chewed 3-4 times a day. Do not swallow the pulp.
- Smoking addiction: Chew the dried root. It may cause mild Nausea.
- Insomnia: Take 1lb. dried rootstock and add to 20 cups of water. Boil and then steep for 5-7 minutes. Strain and add to your bath water. It is good for a sound sleep.
- Wounds, burns and Ulcers: Take One tablespoon rootstock of Sweet Flag. Put into half cup of boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. Use externally for Burns, Wounds and Ulcers.
- Flatulence: Burn Sweet Flag Root. Mix it in Coconut Oil. Apply on abdomen for half an hour.
- Asthma: Prepare a decoction of Sweet Flag Root. Take one teaspoon after every 4 hours.
- Whooping Cough: Burn Sweet Flag. Collect ash. Take a pinch with Honey daily.
- Aphthous Ulcers: Take a small piece of Sweet Flag. Rub it on affected area of mouth for 10 minutes.
- Fitz Hugh Curtis: Add 3 g root powder in 1 tsp Honey. Have this mixture with a cup of warm Milk.
- Epilepsy: Tie the rhizome of Sweet Flag around waist in the form of an amulet.
- Nervine: Consume 1 mg rhizome powder of Sweet Flag daily. It helps in strengthening our Nervous System. (Note: More than 1 g consumption leads to Vomiting.)
- Antimicrobial: Extract the sap of Sweet Flag Root or purchase from market. Apply it on affected parts twice a day.
- Ascaris: Take 5 ml extract of Sweet Flag Root with lukewarm water.
- Autism: Prepare a root decoction of Sweet flag. Have two tablespoon two times a day.
- Cold: Add the powder of the roots in boiling water. Inhale the vapors for 3 to 5 minutes for fast relief.
- Mouth Ulcers: Rub the root on the ulcer 2 to 3 times a day.
- Speech Disorders: Mix powdered root of the Sweet Flag with Honey. Apply this mixture on the tongue. OR Prepare a decoction by adding 1 tablespoon of dried rootstock to 2 cups of water and boil for 5 minutes. Take 1 cup daily.
- Aphrodisiac: Prepare a tea, made of Sweet Flag roots and one cup of water. Strain and drink it. It will increase your sexual potency.
- Sore Throat: Take a piece of Sweet Flag root and break it into small pieces by pounding it in a mortar and pestle. Now, take a small piece and suck on it for 3 to 5 minutes. As the extract from the root enters our throat you will feel a good relief from Sore Throat.
- Stammering: Powder the roots of Sweet Flag. Take a pinch of this powder and mix it with Honey. Consume it regularly; it will help in treating Stammering disorders.
- Throat Disorder: Consume regularly the root powder of Sweet Flag mixed with Honey. It treats all Throat related disorders.
- Amnesia: Take the small pieces of roots of Sweet Flag and dry it in shade. Then grind them to make powder. Consume this powder with warm milk daily in the morning and evening.
- Tonsillitis: Apply the paste of ground Sweet Flag roots on the throat for 10-12 hours. It relieves inflammation.
- Flatulence: Take Caraway, Chamomile and Sweet Flag. Prepare a decoction. Drink it two or three times a day.
- Colic: A decoction of Caraway, Chamomile and Sweet Flag is worth in case of colic.
- Body ache: Take equal quantities of the roots of Punarnava, Bitter Gourd, Apamarga, Utaran, Wood Apple, Black Pepper, Garlic, Harad, Long Pepper, Sweet Flag, and Cat Tail Plant. Add Neem bark. Grind them. Boil them properly with Sesame Oil. Apply it on the affected part.
- Blood Impurity: Take the roots of Sweet Flag. Coat it with thick layer of Turmeric. Dry under the sun. Roast it over flame until the surface gets blackened. Remove from the fire. Grind it to make fine powder. Store it. Take one gram twice a day. Use it for 21 days.
- Colic: Burn the roots of Sweet Flag. Mix the ash with Castor oil. Apply it over the lower Abdomen. (Note: You can also use Coconut oil instead of Castor oil.)
- Flatulence: Mix the ash formed by burning roots of Sweet Flag with Castor oil. Apply it over the lower Abdomen. (Note: Coconut oil can be used instead of Castor oil).
- Stomach problems: Apply the paste formed by mixing the ash obtained by burning roots of Sweet Flag with Castor oil, over the lower abdomen. Do it regularly until the symptoms go away. (Note: You may also use Coconut oil in the absence of Castor oil.)
- Cough: Grind the roots of Sweet Flag to form powder. Mix quarter teaspoon of it with same quantity of Licorice powder. Add the mixture in 2 glass of water. Boil it. Cool it down. Take 4 teaspoon thrice a day. (Note: You may also add Honey for taste.)
- Fever: Mix the root powder of both Sweet Flag and Licorice in equal ratio. Boil this mixture in 2 glass of water. Cool it. Have it 4 times a day. (Note: You may add Honey for taste.)
- Stomach ache: Take quarter teaspoon root powder of each Sweet Flag and Licorice. Boil it in 2 glasses of water. Cool it. Drink 20 ml thrice a day. (Note: Add honey as taste booster.)
- Cough: Take the rootstock of Sweet Flag. Coat it with a layer of Castor oil. Roast over the flame until it chars. Mix half teaspoon of ash obtained in same quantity of Honey. Take thrice a day. (Attention: Best remedy for Cough in children.)
- Diarrhea: Take half teaspoon root powder of Sweet Flag. Mix it with Honey. Take it every morning on an empty stomach.
- Fever: Mix honey with 2 pinches of Sweet Flag’s root powder. Take it every morning on an empty stomach.
- Flatulence: Grind the dried roots of Sweet Flag to make a fine powder. Take a pinch of it and mix it with Honey. Take it every morning.
- Indigestion: Take the paste formed by mixing root powder of Sweet Flag and Honey in the morning.
- Dysentery: Take equal amount of Sweet Flag’ root, Long Pepper, Black Pepper, dried Ginger, rind of Chebulic Myrobalan and rock salt. Grind them all to make fine powder. Take quarter teaspoon of the powder with lukewarm water or Honey.
- Indigestion: Grind equal amount of Sweet Flag’s root, Long Pepper, Black Pepper, dried Ginger, rind of Chebulic Myrobalan and rock salt. Crush them all to make powder. Take a pinch of the powder with lukewarm water or Honey.
- Rheumatism: Mix equal amount of Sweet Flag’s root, Long Pepper, Black Pepper, dried Ginger, rind of Chebulic Myrobalan and rock salt. Grind them to make powder. Take a pinch of the powder with lukewarm water or Honey.
- Stomach Rumble: Take equal quantity of Sweet Flag’s root, Long Pepper, Black Pepper, dried Ginger and rind of Chebulic Myrobalan. Add rock salt in it. Grind it. Take 10 gram of the powder with Honey.
- Ear Discharge: Grind the roots of Drumstick Tree, Sweet Flag and Garlic. Warm them in Sesame oil. Use it as ear drop with a cotton bud.
- Flatulence: Coat the rootstock of Sweet Flag with the layer of Castor oil. Roast it over the flame until it gets black. Take half teaspoon of ash obtained with some hot water.
- Ascaris: Roast the rootstock of Sweet Flag with the layer of Castor oil over the flame until it gets black. Take half teaspoon of ash obtained with some hot water.
- Flatulence: Take the Castor oil coated rootstock of Sweet Flag. Roast it over the flame until it chars. Mix half teaspoon of obtained ash with dried Ginger powder. Add some sugar in it. Take with a little water once in a day.
- Baldness: Take 5 g root powder of Sweet Flag. Mix it with 10 g Coconut milk. Apply this paste on the affected part. Let it dry for half an hour. Rinse it off.
- Stomach Upset: Burn the roots of Sweet Flag. Mix a pinch of the ash obtained with Honey. Have it once a day.
- Syphilis: Take equal quantity of Snow Lotus, Withania Somnifera and Sweet Flag. Grind them to make powder. Mix it in some butter to make paste. Apply over the affected area. (Note: Use butter obtained from buffalo milk.)
- Earache: Extract the juice of ripe yellow leaves of Sodom. Take quarter teaspoon of it and add same amount of Sesame Oil. Now, add quarter teaspoon of Sweet Flag powder, Cinnamon, Garlic and 2 teaspoon of Asafoetida powder. Boil the mixture until it gets thick. Filter it through a piece of cloth. Cool it and use as ear drops.
- Ear Discharge: Mix 3 g of each of Sodom leaves juice, Sesame Oil, powder of Sweet Flag, Cinnamon and Garlic. Add 12 g Asafoetida powder in it. Boil until it gets thick. Filter through a piece of cloth. Cool it and use as an ear drop.
- Tonsillitis: Take equal quantity of Licorice, Sweet Flag and Galangal. Grind them together. Have a teaspoon with Honey once a day.
- Toothache: Take equal quantity of Caraway and Sweet Flag. Powder them together. Keep one pinch on the affected tooth and press. Repeat every night and throw out in the morning.
- Abdominal Diseases: Add 50 g root of Sweet Flag in 30 g Licorice powder. Make its decoction. Drink 10 ml thrice a day.
- Indigestion: Take equal quantity of Sweet Flag, Asafoetida, Aconitum Heterophyllum, Ginger, Black Pepper and Long Pepper. Grind them to make powder. Take 2 g of it with lukewarm water once a day.
- Hysteria: Take 3 to 4 tablespoons Spikenard root powder, 2 to 3 tablespoons Sweet Flag powder and 1 tablespoon Black Salt. Mix all the herbs together. Take half tablespoon of this mixture with 1 teaspoon Honey three times a day. Repeat for 2 week to stabilize the Nervous system and cure Hysteria.
- Throat Disorder: Take each and equal amount of 5 to 6 grams of powdered roots of Asparagus Racemosus, Sweet Flag and Sida Cordifolia. Consume it orally thrice a day.
- Insanity: Take 1 to 2 grams of each Liquorice, Ginger dried powder, Sweet Flag, Ashwagandha, and Albizia Lebbeck. Grind them to make powder. Consume 1 teaspoon of it with a glass of water. Repeat it daily for two times a day.
- Epilepsy: Grind 1 to 2 grams of each Licorice, Ginger dried powder, Sweet Flag, Ashwagandha, and Albizia Lebbeck to make a powder. Consume it with a glass of lukewarm water. Do this treatment twice a day to get best results.
- Stomach Problems: Mix Calamus root, Nutmeg, and Harad together. Consume 1 tsp of this mixture to cure Stomach Problems
- Ascaris: Powder the root of this herb and mix it with Honey. Give this paste once a month to kids.
- Hoarseness: Mix root powder of Sweet Flag in a freshly prepared decoction of Tulsi. Consume it 2 times a day to get a complete cure from Hoarseness and other throat related diseases.
- Strep Throats: Prepare an infusion. Steep 1 tablespoon of Sweet Flag rootstock in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, mix 1/2 teaspoon of Holy Basil powder and 1 tablespoon of Honey to it. Take 1 cup daily.
- Urinary Stones: Take two ounce Calamus rhizome, one ounce Coriander, 1 piece piper nigrum and 1 pint Water. Boil it and reduce to 12 ounce of water. This is a decoction used for the ailments of urinary stones. One ounce of this decoction is given to adults thrice a day and add one teaspoon full of sugar in case of children, twice or thrice a day. It should be continue till the symptoms subsidies.
- Rhizome is candied and made into a sweetmeat.
- It can be peeled and washed to remove the bitterness and then eaten raw like a fruit.
- It makes a palatable vegetable when roasted and can also be used as a flavoring.
- Rich in starch, the root consists of about 1% of an essential oil that is used as a food flavoring.
- Dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavor and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Pinch of the powdered rhizome is used as a flavoring in tea.
- Young and tender inflorescence is often eaten by children for its sweetness.
- Sweet Flag leaves are used in puddings and custards as a substitute for vanilla.
- Inner portion of young stems is eaten raw.
- It makes a very palatable salad.
- Essence from the rhizome is used as a flavor for pipe tobacco.
- Sweet flag is added to home baked black bread in Lithuania.
- Herbal tea is made from the roots of Calamus.
- Leaves are used in basket making or woven into mats.
- They have also been used as a thatch for roofs.
- An essential oil from the rhizome is used in perfumery and as a food flavoring.
- Oil is contained mainly in the outer skin of the root; it has a fragrance reminiscent of patchouli oil.
- Essential oil is also an insect repellent and insecticide.
- It is effective against houseflies.
- When added to rice being stored in granaries it has significantly reduced loss caused by insect damage because the oil in the root has sterilized the male rice weevils.
- An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used in perfumery and for making aromatic vinegars.
- Leaves and the root have a refreshing scent of cinnamon.
- All parts of plant can be dried and used to repel insects or to scent linen cupboards.
- They can also be burnt as incense, whilst the whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb.
- Growing plant is said to repel mosquitoes.
- This plant is occasionally used as a pond plant in horticulture.
- Root of the calamus is cut into disc-shaped beads, and made into bracelets, which are typically worn by newborns for the first few months.
- Vasambu bracelet is a symbol of a newborn baby in Tamil culture.
- Sweet flag oil is used for making luxurious soaps, perfumes and other cosmetic products.
- It is also used in toothpastes.
- Roots of these plants are also known as “Muskrat Root” as muskrats are very fond of them.
- Renowned poet Walt Whitman devoted as many as 39 poems to Sweet Flag plants in his poetry collection “Leaves of Grass”. These poems are also known as “Calamus Poems”.
- These plants were also a great favorite of American author Henry David Thoreau.
When not to take Sweet Flag or Calamus
Beta-isoasarone present in Sweet Flag might cause cancer. However, the presence of this chemical vary in different varieties of the herb. Do check with the seller if the type you are buying is for consumption through mouth
Avoid using this herb when a woman is pregnant or she is breast-feeding her baby. It might not be safe for the child in womb or the infant
This herb should not be taken in large quantities if a person is suffering from any type of heart disease. It is likely to lower the blood pressure and could also lower the heart rate which might be fatal. This is not yet proved but why to take chances. People suffering from low blood pressure should totally avoid it
Before or after Surgery
Sweet Flag acts on the central nervous system and promotes sleep. This could act negatively if taken after surgery with other medications which have similar effects. It is best to avoid this herb 2 week before and 2 week after surgery.
Do not take this herb with medication for depression. Most of the depression medicines do not go well with it.
Do not take it if you are taking any medication which causes drowsiness or makes you sleep (sedatives). This herb causes sleepiness and taking it along with other drugs which also have similar effects might not be good.
Bach or Calamus might increase stomach acid. If you are suffering from Gerd or acidity problem then it is best to avoid this herb.